There are tons of digital marketing companies in Hong Kong, SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is one of the major service provided.
However, choosing a good SEM company is not that easy, here are the things that you may consider:
How to pick a good SEM company?
Recently, we have worked with one of the biggest SEM agency in Hong Kong, which ads buget is around 200 million each year, covering keywords ads, display ads, video ads and so on. We can observe that ad budget on that scale, the mindset, skillset of the people is far different from small or medium sized agency.
Related Industry Knowledge
Somehow, if the agency understand client’s market more, it may heavily cut down the trial and error cost and time. For example, those who are expert in cosmetic field may not that familiar with brick-and-mortar industry.
A good agency with relative industry experience can provide you an expectation on how the ads may perform. For example, We have worked with an agency which only serve cosmetic industry, they are very clear on the client acquisition cost for each service in this field, what platform works well, what ad format works well…etc. These market senses are based on practical implementation, not by guess.
Once you are picking your SEM agency, you can ask if they have similar experience before for your industry and how the ads perform.
Budget scale will highly affect the strategy of the SME agency. In general, small and medium size agency mainly focusing on ROI, which is more like direct response marketing whereas big agency may also need to take care of the client’s branding. (I am not saying big agency don’t care on ROI, just they may also need to take care other stuff)
As a small business owner, you may need to calculate the return for each dollar you spent. The question is, people working in big agency may have different mindset as to small agency.
Skill level and Google recognition
As long as you have a credit card, you can simply create a Google Ads account and start advertising, and claim itself as a SME agency. People find it difficult to distinguish what is good and what is bad. And Google find a ways to help you out.
One of my friend’s agency recently recognized as Google Partner (Search Ads). To have this recognition, agency need to have a certain amount of spending, a 18-month incremental ads spent record as well as passing the knowledge exam.
Such recognition, although is not 100% accurate, at least it give you some indication on how the SEM agency performance before.
Another advantage is that, these recognized agency will have a better support from Google. Whenever you find your ads campaign having issues, these agency can solve the issues in a faster way
Service Level and Follow Up
There are some agencies that will charge a one-off set-up fee for the SEM campaign, however, once the set up is done, the story ends there. In fact, SEM required a consistent observation and optimization, and also require a lot of test before getting a winning campaign.
Even you have a winning campaign, you still need to dig out another winning campaign, and the process should be never end. And therefore, you may need to contact consistently with the agency during the whole campaign so as to achieve more results.
As far as I know, some of the SEM agency may outsource their creatives out to freelancers, their response time may be a bit lower if you need to carry out display ads, that’s also one concern you may need to consider.
Relationship between SEM and SEO
Some people believe that SEM and SEO are competing each other, you can only pick one of them. In fact, they are not, they are strategically helping each other. As you all know SEO takes time, and even the #1 SEO agency HK cannot rank a word overnight, and therefore picking the right keywords is vital.
With SEM, you can test and check which keywords can bring the most traffic, and more importantly – Conversion. You can use SEM to test tons of different keywords before deciding which keywords to be used in the SEO field.
Also, SEM provide a flexibility of ranking competitors keywords, like their branding terms which it is impossible to have that keywords in your own websites.
For advance marketers, SEO will always be the first touching point to the target audience and then SEM will be used as the re-targeting tool. Such strategy can highly improve the conversion rate.
Finding an appropriate SEM agency can highly leverage your ads performance, however, most of the complaint rise because of lacking good communication in the beginning and setting a wrong expectation on both sides. If you do have some difficulties in picking one, we do have some recommendations.